Early Church Fathers
65 A well-known picture of Vandyke in the National Gallery, a copy with some variations of a larger picture at Vienna by Rubens, represents the famous scene of the excommunication of Theodosius.
66 "magistroj," i.e. "magister officiorum."
67 Matt. xviii. 18. In its primary sense the binding and loosing of the Gospels is of course the binding and loosing of the great Jewish schools, i.e., prohibition and permission. The moral and spiritual binding and loosing of the scribe, to whom a key was given as a symbol of his authority to open the treasures of divine lore, has already in the time of Theodoret become the dooming or acquitting of a Janitor commanding the gate of a more material heaven.
68 Valesius says that this "house of salutation" according to Scaliger was the episcopal hospitium or guest quarters. His own opinion however is that it was the audience chamber or chapter-house of the church where the bishop with his presbyters received the faithful whom came to his church.
69 Ps. cxix. 25.
70 twn anaktorwn. Anaktoron in classical Greek = temple or shrine. e.g. Eur. And. 43 "Qetidoj anaktoron." Archd. Cheetham (Dict. Christ. Aut. i. 79), quoting Lobeck, says "also the innermost recess of a temple." Eusebius (Orat. ix) uses it of the great church built by Constatine at Antioch. Theodosius was already within the Church. The sacrarium was in Greek commonly to agion, or to ierateion. The 31st canon of the first Council of Braga ordains "ingredi sacrarium ad communicandum non liceat laicis nisi tantum clericis."
71 Valesius remarks on this "Vera quidem sunt quoe de Flaccilloe Augustoe virtutibus hic refert Theodoretus. Sed nihil pertinent ad hunc locum; nam Flacilla diu ante cladem Thessalonicensium ex hac luce migraverat, et post ejus obitum Theodosius Gallam uxorem duxerat."
Aelia Flacilla Augusta, Empress and Saint,is Plakilla in Greek historians, Placida in Philostorgius. She died at Scotumis in Thrace, Sept. 14, 385. The outbreak at Thessalonica occured in 390.
72 Flacilla died as has been said, in Sept. 385. The revolt at Thessalonica was in 390, and the disturbances at Antioch in 387. The chapters of Theodoret do not follow chronological order.
73 More probably the money was wanted to defray the expenses of magnificent fêtes in honour of the young Arcadius, including a liberal donation to the army. On the whole incident see Chrysostom's famous Homilies on the Statues.
74 The mob looted the baths, smashed the hanging lamps, attack the praetorium, insulted the imperial portrait, and tore down the bronze statues of Theodosius and his deceased wife from their pedestals, and dragged them through the streets. A "whiff" of arrows from the guard calmed the oriental Paris of the 4th century.
75 i.e. the Laodicea on the Syrian coast, so called after the mother of Seleceus Nicator, and now Latakia.
76 Theodoret apparently refers to the advice given by Ambrosius after the massacre of Thessalonica, which, as we have said, took place three years after the instrustion at Antioch.
77 i.e. master of the household.
78 i.e. the ascetic monks.
79 cf. note on page 145.
Valesius remarks "Longe hic fallitur Theodoretus quasi seditio Antiochena post Thessalonicensem cladem contigerit."
80 "Extat oratio Libanii ad imperatorem Theodosium pro temple in qua docet quomodo se gesserint imperatores Christiani erga pagamos. et Constantinum quidem Magnum ait duntaxat spoliasse templa, Constantinum vero ejus filium prohibuisse Sacrificia: ejusque legem a secutis imperatoribus at ab ipsomet Theodosio esse observatam; reliqua vera permissa fuisse paganis, id est turificationem et publicas epulas." Valesius.
81 Romans xii. 11.
82 Valesius points out that this was Cynegius, prefect of the East, who was sent by Thedosius to effect the closing of the idol's temples. cf. Zos: iv.
83 kai sidhrw kai molibdw prosdedemenoi. We are reminded of the huge cramps which must at one time have bound the stones of the Colosseum, - the ruins being pitted all over by the holes made by the middle-age pillagers who tore them away.
84 I do not understand the description of this temple and its destruction precisely as Gibbon does. "dioruttwn" does not seem to mean "undermining the foundations"; St. Matthew and St. Luke use it of the thieves who "dig through" or "break in." The word = dig though, and so into.
85 "The perpetual enemy of peace and virtue." Gibbon. High office deteriorated his character. cf. Newman. Hist. Sketches iii.
86 In the museum at Naples is shewn part of the statue of Diana, found near the Forum at Pompeii. In the back of the head is a hole by means a tube in connexion with which, - the image standing against a wall, - the priests were supposed to deliver the oracles of the Huntress-Maid.
It is curious to note that just at this period when the pagan idols were destroyed, faint traces of image worship begin to appear in the Church. In another two centuries and a half it was becoming common, and in this particular point, Christianity relapsed into paganism. Littledale Plain Reasons, p. 47.
87 "A great number of plates of different metals, artificially joined together, composed the majestic figure of the deity who touched on either side of the walls of the sanctuary. Serapis was distinguished from Jupiter by the basket or bushel which was placed on his head, and by the emblematic monster which he held in his right hand; the head and body of a serpent branching into three tails, which were again terminated by the triple heads of a dog, a lion, and a wolf." Gibbon, on the authority of Macrobius Sat. i. 20.
88 Gibbon quotes the story of Augustus in Plin. Nat. Hist. xxxiii. 24. "Is it true," said the emperor to a veteran at whose home he supped, "that the man who gave the first of his eyes and of his life?" "I want that man," replied the clear sighted veteran, "and you now sup on one of the legs of the goddess." cf. the account in Bede of the destruction by the priest Coify of the great image of the Saxon God at the Goodmanham in Yorkshire.
89 "Some twenty years before the Roman armies withdrew from Britain the triumph of Christianity was completed. Then a question occurs whether archaeology casts any light on the on the discomfiture of Roman paganism in Britain. In proof of the affirmative a curious fact has been adduced, that the statues of pagan divinities discovered in Britain are always or mostly broken. At Binchester, for instance, the Roman Vinovium, not far from Durham, there was found among the remains of an important Roman building a stone statue of the goddess Flora, which its legs broken, lying face downward across a drain as a support to the masonry above. It would certainly not be wise to press archaeological facts too far; but the broken gods in Britain curiously tally with the edicts of Theodosius and the shattered Serapis at Alexandria." Hole Early Missions, p. 24.
90 i.e. from 381, when Flavianus was appointed to the see of Antioch, to 398, the date of the mission of Acacius.
91 vide Chap. xxii. He succeeded in July, 385.
92 Valentinian II. was strangled while bathing in the Rhine at Vienne, May 15, 392. Philost. xi. 1. cf. Soc. v. 25; Soz. vii. 22.
Arbogastes, his Franklin Master of the Horse, who had instigated his murder, set up the pagan professor Eugenius to succeed him. Theodosius did not march to meet the murderer of his young brother-in-law till June, 394, and meanwhile his Empress galla died, leaving a little daughter, Galla Placidia.
93 i.e. at Lycopolis, the modern Siut, in the Thebaid. The envoy was the Eunuch Eutropius. Soz. vii. 22. Claud. i. 312.
94 "Theodosius marched north-westwards, before, up the valley of the Save, and to the city of Aemona." (Laybach.) "Not there did he meet his foes, but at a place thirty miles off, half-way between Aemona and Aquileia, where the Frigidus, (now the Wipbach, or Vipao) burst suddenly from a limestone hill. Here the battle was joined between Eugenius and his Franklin patron and Theodosius with his 20,000 Gothic foederati and the rest of the army of the East. Gainas, Saul, Bacarius, Alaric, were the chief leaders of the Teutonic troops. The first day of battle fell heavily on the foederati of Theodosius, half of whim were left dead epon the field." Hodgkin Dynasty of Theodosius, p. 131. This was Sept. 5, 394.
95 Here was a crucial contest between paganism and Christianity, which might seem a "nodus dignus vindice Deo." On the part played by storms in history vide note on page 103. Claudian, a pagan, was content to acknowledge the finger of providence in the rout of Eugenius, and apostrophizing Honorius, exclaims
"Te proper gelidis Aquilo de monte procellis
Obruit adversas acies, revolutaque tela
Vertit in auctores, et turbine repulit hastas.
O nimium dilecte Deo, cui fundit ad antris
Aeolus armatas hyemes; cui militat oether
Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti."-vii.93
Augustine says he heard of the "revoluta tela" from a soldier engaged in the battle. The appearance of St. John and St. Philip finds a pagan parallel in that of the "great twin brethren" at Lake Regillus.
"So like they were, no mortal
Might one from other know:
White as snow their armour was,
Their steeds were white as snow."
According to Spanish story St. James the Great fought on a milk-white charger, waving a white flag, at the battle of Clavijo, in 939. cf. Mrs. Jameson Sacred and Legendary Art, i. 234.
Sozomen (vii. 24) relates how at the very hour of the fight, at the church which Theodosius had built near Constantinople to enshrine the head of John the Baptist (cf. note on p. 96), a demoniac insulted the saint, taunting him with having had his head cut off, and said "you conquer me and ensnare my army." On this Jortin remarks "either the devil and Sozomen, or else Theodoret, seem to have made a mistake, for the two first ascribe the victory to John the Baptist and the third to John the Evangelist." Remarks ii. 165.
96 Theodosius died of dropsy at Milan, Jan. 17, 395. "The character of Theodosius is one of the most perplexing in history. The church historians have hardly a word of blame for him except in the matter of the massacre of Thessalonica, and that seems to be almost atoned for in their eyes by its perpetrator's penitent submission to ecclesiastical censure. On the other hand the heathen historians, represented by Zosimus, condemn in the most unmeasured terms his insolence, his love of pleasure, his pride, and hint at the scandalous immorality of his life." "It is the fashion to call him the Great, and we may admit that he has as good a right to that title as Lewis XIV., a monarch whom in some respects he pretty closely resembles. But it seems to me that it would be safer to withhold this title from both sovereigns, and to call them not the Great, but the Magnificent." Hodgkin, Dynasty of Theodosius. 133.
The great champion of orthodoxy, he was no violent persecutor, and received at his death from a grateful paganism the official honours of apotheosis.
97 Arcadius was now eighteen, and Honorius eleven. Arcadius reigned at Constantinople, the puppet of Rufinus, the Eunuch Eutropius, and his Empress, Eudoxia.
Honorius was established at Milan, till the approach of Alaric drove him to Ravenna. (402.)